Senior Conservative MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith has condemned as police going mad with “unlimited power”, after reports that a police officer told two young children playing in a park to go home and play in their gardens, even though they lived in an apartment.
Media reported this week that a police officer approached brothers Wren, eight, and six-year-old Bo late last month as they were taking pictures of their freshly-made snowman in a London park, telling the youngsters to go home and play there.
Campaign group Play Outside said that this was an oft-repeated scenario, exasperated by the guidelines in England that said that while adults may meet in pairs for exercise, children must not play with each other if they are not part of their family, reported the i newspaper.
Brexiteer and member of the lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group (CRG) Steve Baker condemned the overzealous police officer, saying: “This unabashed vehemence in the expression of state power beyond the limits of the law would be comical if it were not for real. As the government succeeds in vaccinating vulnerable, incidents like this only underscore the need to reclaim our lives once and for all.”
The government said that while children may play in playgrounds, they are not allowed to socialise, a statement they were forced to make after the Cabinet Office appeared to imply that only children without places to play at home were allowed to use parks.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, former Conservative leader, responds to the story two children were sent home from a playground by officials for breaching Covid laws: "This is what happens to people when they are given almost unlimited power." @JuliaHB1 | @MPIainDS pic.twitter.com/IVUAZb2wo0
— talkRADIO (@talkRADIO) February 11, 2021
“Playgrounds are primarily for use by children who do not have access to private outdoor space, and while parents, guardians or carers are allowed to take children to a playground for exercise, they must not socialise with other people while there,” the Cabinet Office, the department responsible for supporting the prime minister and his Cabinet, had said.
Speaking to talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer on Thursday, Sir Iain, a former leader of the Conservative Party, said that the incident displayed the consequence of “what happens to people when they are given almost unlimited power”.
Quoting the Cabinet Office, Ms Hartley-Brewer asked if “psychopathic” was not too harsh of a term to describe the statement, Duncan Smith replied: “No, but what it does describe is what happens to people when they are given almost unlimited power.
“Their mentality goes in the same direction, which is, ‘What I say is right, therefore it must be obeyed.’ Nobody thinks for a second: ‘Does meet the normal standards of what people might do”.”
“I generally would be concerned about that because it’s mad. We already know that children themselves don’t get it and have a very, very low likelihood of transmitting it to anybody. That’s all absolutely clear,” he added.
‘Out of Control!’ — Travellers to the UK Face 10 Years in Prison for Lying About Corona Travel History https://t.co/RPdzKjtVyV
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 9, 2021
The government has come under sharp criticism after Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced punishment of up to ten years in prison for lying about traveling from a coronavirus ‘red list’ location, a sentence more usually reserved for serious crimes of a threatening or sexual nature.
Brexit leader Nigel Farage called the Coronavirus Act “a threat to civil liberties”, adding: “We are fast becoming a police state.”